Baking Basics

Our staff has found the following hints to be foolproof for any baking occasion.

Baking Tips
Review these helpful hints before you bake your next batch of delicious, homemade cookies.

  • If cookie dough is dry and crumbly, simply stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons milk.
  • Stir in the last additions of ingredients by hand to prevent stiff cookie dough from straining a portable mixer.
  • If cookies spread too much during baking, the dough may be too soft. Chill dough well before baking, and cool hot baking sheets completely before reusing them.
  • Use a small ice-cream scoop to drop dough onto baking sheets.
  • Grease baking sheets with solid shortening or coat lightly with vegetable cooking spray.
  • Keep an eye on the first batch of cookies placed in the oven. Be sure to check for doneness after the minimum baking time.

Measuring Up
Measuring carefully will help you achieve the same great results each time you bake. Not all ingredients are measured with the same type of utensil, so read these guidelines before you start.

  • Pour liquids into transparent, heatproof glass or plastic measures with pouring spouts and easy-to-read markings. These are available at cookware stores and range in size from 1 cup (8 ounces) to 2 quarts (64 ounces). To prevent spilling of liquids, look for the cups whose rims are above the last cup level. When measuring liquids, place the cup on a level surface (such as your kitchen counter) and then fill with liquid.
  • Nested sets of metal or plastic cups in graduated sizes from 1/4 cup to 1 cup are best for measuring dry ingredients. For consistent results, pack brown sugar, dried fruit, and shortening firmly into the measure with the back of a spoon.
  • Almost all flours available today have been presifted before packaging. The exception is cake flour. This delicate flour needs to be sifted before measuring to ensure an airy texture. (Also sift powdered sugar before measuring to remove any lumps.) Get an accurate measure of flour by using the "dip-and-scoop" method. Spoon flour into a measuring cup and mound slightly. Draw the straight edge of a knife or spatula across the top of the measure to level the top.